Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Clarence Thomas, Black Nationalist!

"Clarence X? The Black Nationalist Behind Justice Thomas's Constitutionalism"

New York University Journal of Law & Liberty, Vol. 4, p. 583, 2009

STEPHEN F. SMITH, Notre Dame Law School

To anyone who cares to listen, Justice Thomas’s opinions thunder with the strong black-nationalist voice typically associated with one of Thomas’s personal heroes, Malcolm X. Like Malcolm X, Justice Thomas categorically rejects the idea that white racism remains an insurmountable obstacle to meaningful black progress in America. Although racism unquestionably exists, enormous progress has been made in American race relations - progress that was dramatically confirmed last year by the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first black president. In this climate, with legal protections against discrimination finally enshrined into law after generations of struggle and suffering, blacks need not look to race-based remedies or preferential treatment from society in order to succeed. They need only look within, to the genius, creativity, and capacity for hard work that resides in the heart and mind of every black person. So, if we care to know who the “unknown” Justice Thomas is, the answer is as provocative as it is obvious from his opinions. He is, quite simply, Clarence X - a jurist who is not only a constitutionalist, but a black nationalist as well.



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